Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Fusion bone not healing? Help?

1028761102876 Posts: 248
edited 04/26/2014 - 7:16 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone,
I have had 2 spinal fusions, the last one being October 22 2013. I recently got a CT scan and saw my neuro today and she said that the bone isn't healing well at all, it is less than half as thick as it should be at this point. She took bone from my rib compared to using cadaver bone so that the fusion would heal better, thank goodness that she did. She said it would have failed if we would have used cadaver. Has anyone else had this happen and what was the end result? I see my neuro again in 6 months since I have in both my surgeries been a high risk patient. I don't have any of the risk factors that would explain why this is happening. Would love to hear from anyone who has had this or has heard of this. Thanks in advance!


  • The dr said they were going to use a mix of my bone (from laminectomy), cadaver bone, and something man made (??) to fuse my L4/L5. I wonder if this is normal or something new. I'm interested in the replies from your post. I hope you start getting better results soon!
    Julie K
    L4/L5 fusion TLIF for spondylolisthesis on 5/12/14
  • The man made mixture is called BMP. My surgeon used it.
    L5/S1 TLIF July 18, 2013
    4 Screws 2 Rods and BMP
    Post surgery L4 Dermatones
  • the first time using my own bone, the second time using my bone plus bone morphogenic protein......be very careful when allowing the use of bmp, it can cause severe bone overgrowth, and as in my case, the adherence of the covering of the spinal cord to the vertebral canal....not a good outcome .
    As for what can be done, now, to try to help the fusion process along, the surgeon might consider using a bone growth stimulator. It may or may not help to get the fusion to grow a bit......
  • I am 11 months post-op from an ALIF at L4-L5. My surgeon used the triple combo - my bone, cadaver bone, and synthetic material. I had continued improvement for several months with some flare-ups. However, I've gone drastically downhill the last two months. My surgeon ordered a CT which showed that while there is a bit of bone growth, I am far from fused. In fact, he said at best we could call it a delayed fusion but liked failed fusion. I am now using one of the new bone growth stimulators that you only wear 30 minutes a day and have dramatically increased my calcium supplement and Vitamin D. I have almost as much pain now as I did before surgery and even have to take pain meds to get through the work day - an office job. L3-L4 was iffy prior to surgery and has slightly declined. L5-S1 was good before surgery but now has a protrusion. I don't know how long the doctor will have me wear the stimulator but it's pre-programmed for daily use for 9 months (since most people start wearing it at 3 months and wear it until they hit one year). If there isn't significant improvement, he plans to go back in and add rods/screws. I haven't done enough research yet to see the odds of rod breakage but I see a lot of people on here who have had rods break. I know enough about this forum to know that you hear mainly from the people with issues rather than the success stories. Perhaps a moderator has the statistics on the failure rate of rods in the lumbar region.
  • JulijacJJulijac Posts: 170
    edited 04/28/2014 - 12:14 PM
    I went to add new comment but hit a flag as offensive button when moving my iPad. I do not think anything is offensive. I wish they'd give a "are you sure you want to do this" button before accepting it. Ugh! Anyway, my surgeon will be doing TLIF with rods and screws using all three bone graft types (mine, cadaver, and BMP) mixed together. Should I be worried about that?

    I'm sorry 102876, I hope someone that is going though the same thing comments on your post. I learn a lot from reading all the posts.
    Julie K
    L4/L5 fusion TLIF for spondylolisthesis on 5/12/14
  • Thanks everyone. I am disappointed because she said using my bone would help it to fuse the best, I can't imagine what would have happened if we used anything but my bone. She even bored that my scar healed far apart making me have a thick scar both long and wide, she doesn't know why that happened either. The last thing I would want is to have to go through surgery again, my life has been on hold due to problems that came up after my last surgery. I trust my surgeon fully with my life which is important and even she is disappointed but hopeful. I think hat is the biggest thing is staying positive and hopeful, trusting your surgeon is helpful too.
  • I had a fusion done with my own bone, and after 4 months the bone had resorbed so much that the wire was rubbing on my nerves--ouch! So, they ordered a bone growth stimulator. Wore it daily for 4 hours for 3 months, no change. Had a revision surgery using my own bone and BMP, which worked. I don't smoke, drink, am young(ish) and followed all dietary and exercise instructions.
    Not sure why my first fusion failed, but I think it had to do with my immune system not working because our house had toxic black mold.
    April 2011 C1-C2 Fusion (Brooks wiring)
    January 2012 C1-C2 Revision Fusion (Harms Technique)
    2010 - current: Trigger Point Injections, Epidural Injections, Bilateral C2-C3 Radiofrequency Ablations
  • stimulator, and had to wear it daily for at least 4 hours, for 9-12 months.......I have not heard of a surgeon waiting three months, but I guess when there doesn't appear to be a fusion process going on, it is something to try.....rather than having to go back in...
  • The bone growth stimulator was a last ditch effort, but not only was I not fusing, my bone was resorbing and the wires were getting progressively looser. They didn't try the stimulator until 5 months post-op. I wasn't considered at-risk for non-union.
    April 2011 C1-C2 Fusion (Brooks wiring)
    January 2012 C1-C2 Revision Fusion (Harms Technique)
    2010 - current: Trigger Point Injections, Epidural Injections, Bilateral C2-C3 Radiofrequency Ablations
Sign In or Register to comment.